Monday, December 31, 2012


I did it!  I ran from my house at 7AM to break the 3000 mile barrier.  The conditions were a bit miserable - icy roads and cold.  I stopped at Poquiant Brook at the two mile mark to celebrate 3000.  Then I kept running.  I finished with a hilly six on the day and 3004 for the year! 

Poquiant Brook - 2 mile mark - 3000 for the year

awkward self shot

Is this RI or NH?

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Weekly Log 12-24-12 to 12-30-12

Monday: 4 miles - 12 loops of my home trails in the morning. This was all the running I could fit in today. Despite being off from work this week, logging miles will be a challenge with the holiday festivities, traveling, and staying home with the kids while my wife works. All fun things, but I'm still chasing 3000 miles. I ran pretty hard and had my best lap splits ever. Total time: 27:34.

Tuesday: 5 miles - Burlingame campground single track with my dad and Glenn in the morning. I was able to get out of the house for a nice little run with my family. We parked at the camp entrance and ran a loop CCW. Total time: 43:48.

Wednesday: 8 miles - CHS track with Glenn, Muddy, Jeff, and Tom. A chilly post Christmas run, but the sun and no wind felt great. We ran a three mile warm up on the surrounding trails with good conversation. On the track we did one of Tom's staple workouts in college - sets of 200/200/400. The first set was inconsistent, but the final three were identical. Despite the lower than normal mileage the last few days, my legs didn't feel fresh. The 400's were a bit of a struggle. Results: 33,36,72 35,35,73 35,35,73 35,35,73. Pretty pumped about the times (a couple of seconds below VDOT). Running as a group on the track really helps. Shortish cooldown on trails and fields. Total time: 1:07:40.

Beaver River field trails

afternoon hike with the kids

Thursday: 14 miles - Burlingame trails with Jeff in the early morning. The weather was truly dreadful, but I was happy to have the rain stop (temporarily) as we started in the dark at 6:30AM. We ran down Sanctuary Rd and then ran the NWS trails to Burlingame. Well, that was the plan, but in the darkness I missed a turn and we ended up running trails(?) in Kimball before finally locating the right trail. We then ran the single track of the Brrr-lingame 15K course. These trails drain well and we were having fun. Once we got to the wet bog bridges and then VG trail, it began to rain again. We were chatting away, still enjoying the morning. The tide turned when we reached Buckeye Brook Rd as the rain was more evident and my clothes were soaked through. We fought the elements and finished up the VG loop back to our cars. Total time: 1:50:23. Glad to have a partner crazy enough to join me today!

Friday: 7+ miles - Ninigret trails and fields with Tom and Mike B. It was chilly this morning when I met the guys at 7AM. We ran some trails for a 3 ish mile warm up. My legs were feeling sluggish at times keeping up with the snappy pace. We then did some tempo work in the form of 1000's around a field Tom had measured. I'm not sure of the exact distance (until I upload my GPS data), but it seemed pretty accurate. The planned pace was to go hard but stay under control. I felt really smooth on all four, and enjoyed running on the frozen grass. I was about 3:25 on the first three and 3:14 on the final one. Some drama unfolded when my key fell out of the key pocket in a new pair of shorts I was wearing. I had a time deadline to get home (wife had to work), so I was nervous when we couldn't find it right away. Karma kicked in and Tom found it. Crisis adverted. One mile cooldown at a fast pace. Total time 57 minutes.

Saturday: 6 miles - Stoddard NH hilly snow covered dirt roads alone. Lots of snow on the ground up there. I put on my Yak Trax over my MT 10's - a nice combination. Right away I had to climb the very steep Kennedy Brook Rd and then continued climbing up Kings Highway. After two exhausting miles uphill at a fast pace, I got to run downhill for over a mile. I added some side roads, including another long hill, for a rather speedy 43:25 total time. I played around in my snowshoes later in the day, looking forward to my first real snowshoe run tomorrow.

Boulder Brook behind the house

Playing in the snow at the house

More snow playing

The snowy dirt roads I ran

Pitcher Mountain field (2000')

Snowshoeing Pitcher Mountain

Sunday: 4 miles - Stoddard NH snowshoe run alone. 19 degrees and about six new inches of snow. I ran up to Hidden Lake, which included a 2/3 mile climb. I stopped after the climb to adjust my snowshoes, and then never had to fiddle with them again. I probably could have used just Yak Trax on the roads. The trail around the pond was perfect for snowshoeing however. Deep powder slightly packed by one snow mobile I'm guessing. So much fun and not as tiring as I thought. The hood on my outer layer came in handy to keep the flying snow from my shoes off my neck. I ended up circling the pond three times (3/4 miles per loop on GPS) instead of the planned one. I opted for the shorter (downhill) way back. Total time: 36:45.

Overall: I ran every day, but had a low mileage week. I knew it would be tough chasing miles this week. I had a blast on the runs I fit in, and a nice busy week with my family. I can't complain with two speed workouts, a hilly tempo, my first snowshoe run, and a longish trail run. So, two miles short of 3000, but one day left. I again have a short window to run in the morning, and there's six inches of snow on the ground up here on the hill in Charlestown. I'll get it done!

Weekly Total: 48 miles
Last Week: 70 miles
Year to Date: 2998 miles

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Weekly Log 12-17-12 to 12-23-12

Two weeks and a day left in 2012 and I'm still on target for my newish goal of 3000 miles.  Looking at the extended forecast on Sunday night was a little deflating.  It seems I'll be chasing miles in the wind and rain. Hopefully, it's not as bad as predicted. 

Monday: 9 miles - Quonset Bike Path (7M) and Calf Pasture Point beach and trail (2M) alone.  I felt surprisingly good on this run.  The weather was quite dreary (42 and light rain), so my pace was probably quicker just to stay warm and get it over with.  After a 7:26 first mile I then ran the next three in the high 6's and then 6:32 and 6:26 for miles 5 & 6.  I kept it snappy on the beach, despite the thick sand (it helped to have the wind at my back).  My last mile on pavement was 6:37.  Total time: 1:02:14. 

Tuesday: 9+ miles - Rome Point trails and beach alone.  This day looked like a washout, but it was just cloudy when I ran with occasional sunshine.  The temperature was warm and the wind wasn't bad.  My legs were finally feeling tired (two days removed from a race).  My goal was to keep it easy and only run for as long as I was having fun.  I did my new normal 3+ mile zigzag to the point and then ran the shoreline south.  The tide was high, and I had to turn around at the usually jumpable stream.  I ran the mile back along the water and then repeated my zigzag back to the car.  Total time: 1:09:59. 

Wednesday: 10 miles - Carolina trails with Muddy in the late afternoon.  I really wanted to get a workout in today, and finally went to Plan C to do it.  Plan A was early track with Mike, but he's been sick.  Plan B was to do intervals in Quonset, but the wind was howling, and I needed to find another plan.  I should also note that I was hoping to double today by joining some of the other WTAC guys for a 5PM Christmas lights run in Westerly.  Plan C was to contact Muddy to see if he was doing intervals and hope that I could take my break at work at the end of the day.  Three times was the charm, and we agreed to avoid the wind on a track by running hill repeats in the woods.  He has just the hill in Carolina Mgmt Area to use - it was measuring .25 miles on my GPS (of course this was in the woods so it may have been longer).  It climbed moderately at first, then easily, before a steepish finish.  The first one was the fastest, but still challenging for me.  We did six repeats, and I was huffing and puffing behind Muddy on each one.  Results: 1:29/1:34/1:35/1:34/1:35:137.  This workout was a blast and I enjoyed the dark and cool conditions.  It was hard to see the trail on the 2+ mile cooldown back to our cars.  Total time: 1:14:25. 

Thursday: 11 miles - Narragansett beaches, trails, and roads alone.  I was planning to run the usual 10 miles in Ryan Park when I received a text from Mike about checking out the Black Point trail conditions for the upcoming Resolution 5K.  This seemed like a fun assignment and I could easily add some miles by running to Pt. Judith or Galilee.  I parked at Black Point and ran the new trail loop down to the seashore.  I then ran the path along the coast.  It was in decent shape: 


I ran through the ruins and then hopped onto the beach.  The tide was really high so I knew it was going to be interesting.  Despite the water coming almost up to the pavilions at times, I had plenty of sand to work with.  I reached the end of the beach and then crossed over the field to Ocean Road.  I ran to Galilee and then jumped back onto the beach at Salty Brine.  I was now running into the wind and the sand was extremely soft.  The beach is a bit of mess here too.  I eventually made it to the far end of Roger Wheeler beach and then got back onto the road.  I debated running to Pt. Judith, but I was worried about the time and darkness, so I headed back.  I ran the beach again to Black Point and then circled around there a while more to get 11 miles for the day.  Total time: 1:20:46. 

Friday: 7 miles - Ryan Park trails alone.  Wow did the weather change quick.  It was raining all morning and into the early afternoon, very heavy at times.  I had mentally prepared myself for a zero, but when we closed the office early and it was time to go, the sun was peaking through the clouds and the screaming winds had diminished to a whisper.  I couldn't resist getting a run in.  I put on my old Inov8's that I use only for messy trail conditions.  The temperature was 53 degrees!  I ran down the rail bed, splashing most of the way.  The rest of the trails drain well.  I pushed the Strava segment called "Root Run", but it was for naught, since the GPS didn't line up correctly.  It worked my lungs hard though.  I finished up on the trails in and around the fields.  What a fun surprise run!  Total time: 52:12. 

Saturday: 14 miles - Woody Hill and Wahaneeta trails with Jeff, Muddy, Mike B, Tommy 5K, and Rhody Seth.  We met up in the dark at 6:30AM in the Benny's parking lot.  We then briefly ran S. Woody Hill Rd before hitting up the trails.  I'm a bit embarassed that I have never run here before, especially since it is so close to my house.  The feedback I had received in the past was that it was full of ATV trails and teeming with hunters in the fall and winter.  Jeff has been exploring in here recently, and also has been helping out the Westerly Land Trust with the new trails in their Wahaneeta preserve.  He was excited to take us on a tour this morning.  We made a large loop around Woody Hill.  Most of the trails are wide old roads.  The footing is easy enough that you don't have to concentrate too much and can enjoy your surroundings (once there was enough light to see!).  There was a cool pond in the middle and we had to cross a dyke/beaver dam.  We also hit some zero track - a trail(?) Jeff called the swamp trail.  He seemed to know where he was going so I guess it counts.  Soon we were in Wahaneeta, and Jeff showed us the various interesting geological and human features of the property.  We finished up on the road back to Benny's, where I caught up to Mike B. and then ran with him for a fast finish, including a good hill.  I love these long morning runs. Total time: 1:48:16. 

Later that morning I ran 1 mile (3 loops of our home trails) with my son (and daughter for half).  He had his fastest time despite some drama on the trails - all three of us fell at different points! 

Sunday: 9 miles - Charlestown hilly roads before sunrise alone.  Today was going to be a busy day, and any chance of running was going to have to be early.  I'm terrible at getting out the door for a solo run in the dark, but I pulled it off today.  I started at 6AM and used my headlamp for the first two miles.  I was a little creeped out running Buckeye Brook Rd in the dark, wondering what creatures were lurking.  When I reached Poquiant Brook, I turned off my light, and had enough natural light to see the road.  I was moving well, but never checked my watch.  I ran out to Rte 216 and then looped around Laurel and Klondike until heading home.  I felt good on all the climbs.  I was happy with the overall time of 1:02:04. 

Overall: Big week, getting to 70 miles.  Only 50 left to go for 3000. 

Weekly Total: 70 miles
Last Week: 52 miles
Year to Date: 2950 miles

Monday, December 17, 2012

Old Mountain Trail 5K 2012

I began asking (nagging?) Mike Galoob back in September if he was putting on his winter trail race series again. Yesterday, the wait was over, as it was the day of the first race - the Old Mtn Trail 5K. Mike had been working on a new course this year, one that had more single track in the woods, and less open fields. I even got to help out with some of the trail work the past couple of weeks. The end result was a new loop course that was really challenging and extremely fun. I ran it a few times this past week to get a feel for it. Basically, it's two miles of slowish technical trails followed by a hilly twisty final mile. The course definitely runs slower than last year.

I didn't have any concrete goal going into the race. I didn't really settle on a strategy either. Last year I jetted off the line to try to get to the trails first and suffered the rest of the race. This year I had a better idea of the competition (I would not be first or even fifth probably), but I still wanted to not get stuck in a trail bottleneck. I needed some sort of balance.

I arrived early with my family so that my wife and I could help out with registration/set up. I was given the duty of marking part of the course with a couple of other familiar trail race faces, and my kids enthusiastically tagged along. Once completed, I managed to run the course as a warm up with some of my teammates. We got back with minutes to spare. I stripped down to my shorts and singlet, and then jogged some more to stay warm. The weather was fine - overcast and mid 30's. It felt like winter.

At the siren, I took off at a good clip, but I was behind a few others. After the first turn in the fields, I could see DJ the young fast Turtle up front with another youngster or two, and last year's series winner Derek J closely in tow. Bob Jackman went by, and I briefly tried to stick with him, not wanting two Turtles up front. I was in fifth position entering the woods. I was hoping that I would catch a couple of inexperienced trail runners on this rooty section. I also was already huffing and puffing after the quick start. Uh oh, not again!

I kept running as hard as I could, and after the wooden bridge, I was able to pass a tiring runner to get into 4th position. There was a 5-10 second gap between me and the top 3. I really wanted to close and daringly pushed the tricky spots to do so. I also really wanted to widen the margin between myself and whoever was stalking behind me. Best guess was Justin or Jeff, but I didn't recognize the breathing or footsteps. Maybe it was last year's race winner Tom G?

I was losing ground on the leaders as I passed the Mile 1 sign in 6:05. This was the first and last time I looked at my watch. The second mile begins on a twisty squishy new trail. I was working hard, but I had company on my heels. The fear of being chased willed me to not slow down. I was able to nimbly sprint across a long rock garden (way faster than I've ever dared) and I momentarily gained some space. But as soon as the trail got easier, my lead shrank. I didn't feel optimistic about maintaining my position. Soon, the course was gaining elevation, and I again dug down. After the long climb to the ledges, I had trouble recovering, and definitely slowed down. I did increase my advantage, and I was able to get a glimpse of who was behind me - someone in blue, not a teammate or a Turtle.

I reached the summit at the large boulder and looked forward to getting my pace back up and my breathing under control on the next downhill section. What I didn't account for was how tight the incredible amount of switchbacks were, and how hard it was to run these fast. I couldn't stay in rhythm. When I reached the bottom, I could see the guy in blue close behind me with Justin and Jeff right there too. Ugh. I felt tired. We ran by the crowd near the parking lot, and then began the switchbacks up the hill. Usually, this hilly spot would be an advantage for me, but I was struggling. Getting caught seemed inevitable. I was still fighting though.

I made the sharp turn onto the wider trail that descended out of the woods. I assumed this was where my race would turn ugly. I managed to hold my position until at last the guy in blue made his move with a 1/4 mile left. I mustered up the energy to counter his move, by passing him right before a small hill around the final curve. This was my only chance. As soon as we hit the final straightaway (on grass), he sprinted by me and there was no catching him this time. I looked back to see if Justin was going to run me down as well, but I had enough space to not worry at that point. I crossed the line in 19:33, one minute faster than last year, even though this year's course was slower. I was really excited and totally exhausted. Not the smartest way to race (going out fast), and it's unnerving to feel like you're being chased, but the result was satisfying.

The guy in blue introduced himself as Chris G - a fellow Charlestown trail runner. I remembered his name from Li'l Rhody. I then saw my coworker Dan finish. It was going to be another close call on the team competition between the WTAC and TNT. Just like at the Christmas 10K last week, it was two Turtles followed by three WTAC, and then another Turtle. The top 3 times would be added for scoring. Eventually I headed out for a shorter cool down with my teammates as we chatted about our races. Everyone seemed to have a great time and enjoyed the challenging Mike G course. We then returned for the awards where TNT again was victorious. That's okay, four more races to go and we're getting closer to the return of Tommy 5K! Much thanks goes out to Mike for putting on such a great event. I love seeing such a turnout for a local trail race.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Weekly Log 12-10-12 to 12-16-12

This will probably be another lower mileage week.  I had a strange start to the week with no work and the kids home for parent teacher conferences.  I'm also racing the Old Mountain 5K Trail Race on Sunday, so no long run this weekend.  I'm fine with the low mileage, but I do want to reach the 3000 mile mark by 11:59:59 12/31/12.  This wasn't the plan at the beginning of the year, but I'm right on target.  I don't have any concrete goals for the trail 5K other than a team win.  The new course is awesome and challenging.  It will be a fun race for sure. 

Monday: 4 miles - 3 trail loops (1 mile) with my son in the early afternoon.  He shaved 11 seconds off his time from a few days ago.  My daughter ran about a half mile too.  Total time: 12:38.  9 loops (3 miles) at 4PM.  It was getting dark and the rain picked back up in intensity.  The twisty trails keep you focused and are definitely a good workout for trail racing.  Total time: 22:39. 

Tuesday: 4 miles - 12 trail loops at 4:30PM.  After spending time collecting kindling and stacking wood I headed out for another trail workout at home.  I ran 4 laps without a headlamp, and the last 8 with one.  Total time: 31:49. 

Wednesday: 11 miles - CCMS track workout with Mike G at 6AM.  I arrived in the darkness on this chilly dark morning and began running laps waiting for Mike and maybe others to show up.  After 2 miles, I was wondering if it was going to be just me, but Mike arrived after I had run another mile.  The plan was a simple sounding 8x400 at 1 mile pace.  This meant my target time would be 75 seconds.  This sounded challenging, but not as daunting with a full lap recovery.  I wasn't feeling super motivated at the start, but the workout came together nicely.  Results: 73.4/76.2/73.8/73.8/75.3/73.6/73.4/72.5

As usual, the first rep felt really easy and then the 2nd was slow.  I was happy to be below my target time for the most part.  I dropped Mike off at his house and then drove to Old Mountain Field to run the new course as a cool down.  With all the rain, Mike wasn't sure if the river crossing was passable, so I wasn't sure what I was in for.  First off, running trails as a cool down is great.  No pounding.  I reached the river and it was low enough to jump to the exposed rocks.  I then saw two hunters in orange 20 yards away on the power line.  I'm not sure it's legal to hunt there, but I smiled and waved, hoping they wouldn't shoot me.  I then ran the newly cut trail that I have helped Mike work on.  There was a good amount of water out there, but the placed rocks and log bridges worked like a charm.  I continued to follow the new trail to the existing fading 4x4 trail.  This meets up with the new trail from last year's race, now run in reverse.  The course's last mile zigs and zags up and down the hill and surrounding woods until a fast finish back around the athletic fields.  I did the course in 27:05.  Not easy!  Total time: 1:24:33. 

Side Note: I keep checking the Ultra SignUp site for registered entrants in the Old Mtn race.  It's now up to 56 including some pretty fast runners.  This is pumping me up! 

Thursday: 7 miles - Old Mountain trails alone.  I was feeling rather blah today and not really excited about running. When it was time to do something and I went outside, I was reinvigorated by the nice weather (sunny and not windy).  I drove to Old Mountain Field to run the 5K course twice.  My first lap I got off course somewhere on the old 4x4 path and bushwhacked to the sewer right of way.  I then proceeded to take a wrong turn on the hill.  I regrouped and began my second lap.  My pace, like on the first lap, was rather brisk at first.  I then was able to negotiate the tricky spots better, and even managed to stay on course.  Running up and down the hill after two miles of technical single track is rough.  Hopefully, this will be an advantage to me during the race.  As I was barreling down the wide trail to the skate park an unleashed dog ran after me.  I was nervous at first because it had a pitbully-look to it (it really wasn't).  I stopped and stearnly told the dog to go back.  It was acting on the aggresive side and not leaving me alone.  The skater owner said that the dog was friendly to everyone.  Great.  Can you get it to leave me alone!  I began running again and the dog made a mad dash at me.  I stopped and yelled louder.  The skaters yelled at me, saying I didn't need to yell at their dog.  I yelled back saying it was a strange dog and acting aggressive.  One skater shouted back that I was acting aggressive.  Good point.  I tried to be more civil.  The owner had to eventually walk over and restrain the dog so I could continue on my way.  I think the ordeal ended okay.  The drama made me lose out on becoming KOM for the new course.  Total time: 53:36. 

Friday: 10 miles - Ryan Park trails alone. A nice run in the decent weather. I kept the pace on the easy side but my overall time was still rather snappy. Earlier this year with the same effort here would be five minutes longer. I ran into one unfriendly horse rider - is it too much for me to expect a 'hello' or a 'thank you' for me stopping my run and stepping off the trail for you to pass? Total time: 1:13.

Saturday: 1 mile - 3xhome trail loop with my son in the AM. He told me he wasn't going for a PR today, just a training run. Total time: 12:56. 7 miles - Burlingame campground trails in the late afternoon alone. Not looking for hills or hunters, I parked at the picnic area and ran the dirt road to the campground. I picked up the NST at the bog bridges and worked my way backwards on the Brrr-lingame 15K course. It was getting rather chilly and I wished I wore another layer. Other than that, I was loving the empty trails. I stayed on the trail rather than running back through the campground. I was soon in the NWR. I found the wider trail that skirts the eastern boundary and dumps you back onto Sanctuary Road. I really liked avoiding the campground and will probably use these trails more to do so. I finished on the beach rather than the dirt road. The fading light was really nice from the water. I wasn't the only one enjoying the sunset, as I noticed a middle aged couple in the cabin embracing. Looked like a Cialis commercial. Total time: 52:30.

Sunday: 8 miles - Old Mountain Trail 5K. 5th overall(?), 19:32, top WTAC finisher. Separate write up to follow tomorrow.

Weekly Total: 52 miles
Last Week: 55 miles
Year to Date: 2880 miles

Monday, December 10, 2012

Christmas 10K 2012

Sunday was finally the day for the much anticipated Christmas 10K in Newport. Last year, I had no idea what to expect as it was my first attempt at this distance. This year, I had a clear idea of what my goals would be: sub 36 minutes and a WTAC team win.

There is something really fun yet hard about racing 6.2 miles. Using the VDOT and McMillan running calculators, you notice that 10K pace is only a few seconds slower than 5K pace. But it's twice the distance! I wouldn't believe it if I hadn't had it work for me last year. In fact, I beat them. This year, the calculators were telling me I would run just over 36 minutes, so my goal was to beat them again. I needed to average 5:47 pace to sneak into the 35's. I've been using 5:45 pace as a target in recent 10K pace work, and would use that again during the race.

Adding to the excitement, was the fact that the WTAC (my running club), would be competing as a team in this race. We began team racing after the Christmas 10K last year. The fastest top three times for each team were used for scoring. TNT won last year, but depending on who showed up, it seemed that we had a good shot at the title.

All of this led to a lot of excitement and nervousness before the race. My wife (running her first 10K) and I headed over the bridges after a stop to pick up WTAC's newest member, Mike Galoob. We registered and found the rest of the team. We noticed a group of Turtles (technically a bale of turtles) that included Bob Jackman and Alan Bernier (top two finishers last year). Then we saw a couple of BAA and New Balance jerseys and hoped neither entered as teams. The field was packed!

Justin, Jeff, Mike, Seth, and I headed out on a warm up. I was looking forward to the trails across the street. We wandered around there and then ran the last mile of the race course. Despite last night's margaritas and general nervousness, I was feeling great. My legs were fresh, thanks to actually tapering for once. We ran back to our cars for last minute prep, and then jogged down the road to the starting area. Besides exchanging greetings with the usual people, I was happy to run into old friend Matt Crowley.

Quickly the gun went off and the race was on. I did not want to go out fast, but it was frustrating to watch so many guys in front of me. I stuck to the plan and used my GPS watch for pacing. Justin moved up and went by. I decided to stick with him, and the speed was right. Jeff moved up to us on a downhill, and the three of us in our WTAC singlets ran together briefly. I crossed the 1 Mile mark in 5:40 (before my watch beeped the first mile). This seemed perfect: a little faster than my goal, but not too fast. During Mile 2, Justin pressed ahead, and I chose to stay the course. I muttered something to Jeff about keeping up this casual pace for five more miles, and then next thing I knew, he was moving ahead of me as well. I figured that this was one of those days when he was feeling really good. I stayed my course and watched them gain ground in front of me. I passed the Mile 2 marker in 11:31, and was happy about the pace so far. Justin seemed 20-30 seconds ahead of me and Jeff looked possessed trying to catch him. The conditions here were spectacular: sunny, 50 degrees, wind at your back, with views from the rocky shoreline. Then I turned the corner at the end of the point and was greeted with a decent headwind. I was already running hard, but pushed harder hoping to not slow down. I could not hear anybody behind me and I stayed focused on my teammates in front of me. I passed mile 3 (need to upload my watch data for split) still trailing Jeff by a wide margin, but soon I was gaining as the terrain began to roll. On the rather steep hill before Mile 4, I was able to pass him. We were close to a Turtle and I told Jeff to keep working and catch that guy. When Jeff didn't catch back up on the long downhill, I then focused on my pace (seemed consistent) and the TNT jersey I was closing in on. I was able to pass him on a hill during mile 5. I may have picked up my pace here as I now was not too far behind Justin. I couldn't believe it. I was feeling good about finishing strong and wondered if this might be the day that I actually beat him in a race (something that has never happened before). I passed the Mile 5 marker in the high 28's (was it 29's?) and wondered if there was too much distance left to finish sub 36. Justin made his way by another runner and turned the corner. I passes this runner as well, but I felt awkward making the turn. I think I was full of nervous energy. I felt so slow climbing the slow long hill on this new road. Justin was just a handful of seconds ahead, and I debated the merits of sprinting up to his side, or just holding back and keep grinding. Basically, my body told me what to do, as I was working pretty hard already. I steadily gained until I was literally two seconds behind him, before another sharp turn and a long fast descent. Again my turn felt awkward - my legs got out of rhythm and Justin increased his lead to 5 or so seconds. My only hope was the last steep climb right after the 6 Mile marker, but Justin was digging in and I made up no ground. I glanced at my watch and sub 36 was still very much in play. I didn't have a finishing sprint in me, but I tried. Final time 35:54, seven seconds behind Justin, and 12th overall.

I was chatting with Justin and Mike when we noticed Jeff locked in a battle to the finish with the TNT guy from earlier! Jeff just missed out and looked like he had given it his all out there. Still a two minute PR for him. Soon, it was Seth completing his race in an impressive 38 minutes. The team title was going to be close as Mike had finished ahead of Bernier but behind Jackman. Justin and I were the next finishers. We had to wait for the awards ceremony to find out who won.

Our team then headed out for a cool down. We ran the course in reverse so that I could see my wife on the course. Well it wasn't long before she yelled out to me - she was way ahead of her predicted time and finished with a 8:55 pace overall! We continued on our slow shuffle until Mike wanted to head back down to Ocean Drive. I joined him and the rest of the guys went back. The cool down proved to be longer than we thought, and I was getting very hungry and tired. We walked the last hill back to the car. We went back to the post race festivities and met up with the remaining teammates and other running friends. Looking at the posted results, it seemed that we just narrowly lost the team title, and eventually TNT was awarded as the winning team. This was a bit disappointing, but will serve as motivation for the upcoming winter trail series.

Overall I was very pleased with my race. I attained my goal of sub 36 and beat the calculators again. I ran smart and I believe I ran faster the second half of the race. My training has been paying off and I'm motivated to keep working hard.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Weekly Log 12-3-12 to 12-9-12

Big week with the much anticipated Christmas 10K on Sunday.  After two normal runs on Monday and Tuesday, and a track workout planned on Wednesday morning, my plan is to keep it short and easy Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.  Looks like WTAC will have a huge contigent racing in Newport.  Looking forward to challenging TNT for the team title. 

Monday: 10 miles - Ryan Park trails alone.  One of those runs where you have no idea how fast you're going - felt hard at times, but on the slow side, but maybe I'm going faster than I think?  Warm and sunny.  I saw a couple of other runners out there.  One guy in jeans jogging with a walking stick who stuck his hand out just as we crossed paths for a high five and I left him hanging.  This wasn't on purpose - I appreciate his stoke.  I didn't see his hand in time and felt like a tool.  Soon after I crossed paths with a fit looking guy in flashy running attire on a twisty side trail.  Looked familiar.  It took me twenty minutes to figure out it may have been Keven O.  The NK raker has been out and about the last week or two.  It's nice to not have all the slipping and sliding on leaves.  Once I reached the powerline, I decided to pick up my pace somewhat and do the Rte 4 Strava segment.  I wasn't going super hard, but felt fast by the end.  I was way off my PR pace though.  I then ran the two other Strava segments: the railbed and the roots trail.  Again I was significantly off my PR pace for both, but I enjoyed picking up the pace.  I finished up in a relatively snappy 1:12:03. 

Tuesday: 10 miles - Rome Point beach, trails, and road alone.  Mild but overcast.  I was thinking I'd only run 8 miles today, but it's hard to break routine.  I zigzagged down to the point - well almost, I felt bad passing the same guy and dog from behind a third time, so I turned around before I reached the end of the trail.  I then ran the beach south.  It was a mid tide.  I was curious to see if I would still be able to run south of the PBYC.  Yup.  A little trickier, but I still made it as far as last week.  On the return, I decided to skip the trail on the point, and I kept to the shoreline (very rocky here).  Eventually it smoothed out, and I was able to run along the water's edge all the way to the stream near Terre Mar Drive.  I then ran the roads back to my car.  Total time: 1:19:27.  Fun run! 

Wednesday: 7+ miles - CCMS track workout with Galoob at 6AM.  Our plan was to be running at 6:15, so I pulled into the parking lot at 5:55 (with the temperature reading 55 degrees).  It was damp, rainy at times, and extremely dark until the end.  I ran a few laps alone until I saw Mike's headlamp in the distance.  We ran a few more laps and talked about the plan.  We are both racing the Christmas 10K on Sunday, so we weren't going to be doing anything too crazy.  The idea was to start with one or two miles at 10K pace, or so I thought, until Mike almost lapped me (okay half-lapped me).  He was going 5K or faster pace on his miles.  Mine felt really smooth, despite still having some lingering soreness in my upper legs from last week's runs.  It was so dark that I couldn't see my splits.  We did 2x1 mile: 5:45/5:49.  A tad slow, but I would have pushed just a tiny bit harder if I could've seen my watch.  We then did 4x400 with a normal pace 400 in between reps (low 7's).  We both ran these at 10K pace - it took two laps after the miles to figure it out.  Results: 86/88/84/87.  My target was 86 - we talked too much during the 2nd one.  No time for a cooldown again this week with Mike.  I drove to the bike path for a potential easy recovery run, but the rain was steadier, and the perfect excuse to call it a day.  Overall, I didn't feel like I really ran hard today, but I got in 3 miles at 10K pace.  I think that's a good sign.  Total time: 51:33. 

          PM - trail work on the Old Mtn Trail 5K course with Mike G. 

Thursday: 7+ miles - Calf Pasture Point beach, trail, and bike path alone.  Gorgeous chilly clear day.  I ran the bike path out to the beach and then ran two clockwise loops (to have the wind at my back).  The beach has definitely changed since Sandy.  High up it looks eroded, but at the water's edge it seems like there is more sand than before.  The running was a slow go out there.  I was lacking energy at times, but that happens to me on the days leading up to a big race.  Nothing out of the ordinary to report wildlife-wise.  They are dredging the entrance to Allen's Harbor and there is a lot less beach.  Total time: 56:06. 


Friday: 0. Drove to Beavertail and walked the trails and shoreline. I brought my binoculars, and was hoping to at least see some Harlequin Ducks. Luck had it that some interesting birds were seen there earlier in the morning, so I kept my eyes peeled. I didn't see anything of note on the trails, but I enjoyed the solitude. There might even be enough trails to run? Along the water I did get to see plenty on Harlequins plus eiders, gannets, black ducks, and mergansers. A car pulled up and a guy asked if I had seen anything good. I said no. He then asked if I had seen any swallows(cave). How about razorbills? No. Then he drove off. He didn't ever get out of his car! Anyway, it was a nice way to spend some time outside not running.

Saturday: 8 miles - Carter Preserve trails with Jeff, Mike B, and Muddy. I was a bit nervous listening to the rain all night. I had organized the 7AM run and wondered if anyone would show in the dreary weather. The rain stopped before the start and everyone was in. We executed the plan to keep the pace easy and the conversation light. Total time: 1:06:30.

Sunday: 13 miles - Christmas 10K in Newport. 35:54 - 1:30 PR!

Overall: light week culminating in an awesome race.

Weekly Total: 55 miles
Last Week: 62 miles
Year to Date: 2828 miles

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Weekly Log 11-26-12 to 12-2-12

Less than two weeks away from my next big race - the Christmas 10K in Newport, and I constantly have running on the brain.  I'm beginning this week with sore legs since I did an extra track workout last week and I was back on the track this morning (Tuesday).  I'll need to take it easy mid-week and then I hope to hit the hills of Saunderstown to get my KOM's back from Galoob and then get in a long trail run on the weekend.  Next week I'll will try my best to taper for the 10K.  We'll see how that goes.  Anyway, here's the picture of the bulletin board at DuVal trail I took last Friday: 

Monday: 10+ miles - Rome Point trails and beach alone.  Decent weather today.  I wandered 3+ miles down to the point and then ran the coastline south.  At the usual turnaround point (southern end of Plum Beach) I was surprised by more beach!  The tide was low, but I've seen it lower, and I have never been able to go any further due to wet rocks and cliffs.  Thanks to Sandy, sand has piled up over the rocks and made for an easily traversed beach to run on.  I continued south for another quarter mile or so until I reached a rocky/ledgy roadblock.  Pretty amazing.  I ran the coastline back to Rome Point, this time with the wind in my face.  I ran less trails back to my car.  Great run.  Total time: 1:19:48. 

Tuesday: 10 miles - CCMS track with Galoob followed by long cooldown on the SC bike path alone.  I wasn't sure how smart of an idea it was to do more speedwork, but my legs told me it was okay.  I met up with Mike at 6:15AM.  He usually has a plan and I'm happy to follow along.  Currently he is training for a fast indoor 800, and I'm just looking to get faster in general.  Today's workout was 2 sets of 4 200's with the goal of descending splits.  This was followed by 3 fly 50's and 1 fly 100 just for fun at the end.  After warming up, we did one 200 "stride" just to get the legs ready.  I definitely wasn't feeling fresh out there, and even needed to catch my breath after the last couple of 200's.  Overall, I was pleased with my times and had a lot of fun on the really short stuff.  Results: 36.3/35.9/34.9/34.6 33.3/33.6/33.2/32.5 7.2/7.6/7.3/14.6

One note: the 50's and 100 were hard to time for me.  I had to slow down to reach over and stop my watch  and felt like I stopped it late.  Mike was holding his watch in one hand which seems much more convenient.  No cool down with Mike as he needed to rush home so I decided to park in Peace Dale and run the bike path east to check out the newer section I've yet to run.  It took a few minutes to warm my body back up (thanks to the cold windy mist).  I crossed 108 and ran the bike path under Rte 1 and out to the end and back.  My legs weren't happy with me, but I enjoyed myself for the most part.  Total time: 1:16. 

Wednesday: 0 - met Mike G and his daughter to help clear a new trail for the upcoming Old Mtn Trail 5K.  As I've stated here before, I love brush clearing cross training!  I'm really excited about what the new course will look like - lot's of single track, most of it technical, and less fields.  The day off was probably smart since it's been a while, but my legs feel pretty good.  Back at it tomorrow. 

Thursday: 15 miles - Ryan Park trails (10M) with Wickford roads (5M) alone.  I was planning to run from my office to Ryan, but I couldn't make that work politically, so I started at Ryan, ran 6.5 miles, and then explored some side streets.  Despite needing a few minutes to warm up, I really enjoyed the chilly, but sunny weather.  My pace felt good through the woods.  Once I hit the roads, I could feel the lingering fatigue in my legs.  At first I was going to run 2 miles on the roads, then 3, then 4.  I hit 4 miles before reaching the trails again, so I figured I would just continue on the roads and get 5.  My legs were now tight in addition to being tired.  Luckily the trails kept me focused and I didn't dwell on how I was feeling.  Total time: 1:48:55. 

Friday: 10 miles - Saunderstown hilly roads alone.  My plans to meet in SK for hill repeats and trail intervals fell through, so I went out alone in the afternoon to attempt to retake my KOM's in Saunderstown.  Mike G beat my times on four climbs.  Two seemed out of reach, but two were definitely within striking distance.  I began on this cold blustery day by parking at the Rte 1A lot and heading north to run Plum Point Rd.  I consider this the 2nd hardest hill in the area, and my best time was just a few seconds behind Mike's (from a run we both did before I had a GPS watch).  Usually I do this hill at the end of a hill workout, so I thought I could run it faster at the beginning of one.  My legs felt numb from the cold and my form seemed off, but I could tell from my pace that I was making good time.  I then recovered by heading south to Plum Beach Rd.  I ran to the end of the road and then ran the Champlin Rd climb (actually is on 4 different roads).  My pace was fast again (as well as my awkwardness).  I then decided to head over to Gilbert Stuart - the climb of all climbs around here.  My lungs were already taxed from the first two hills, and even though I had a mile and a half to recover, I still wasn't sure how much I had in the tank.  As I was making my way to the hill I was passed by a bike, and I wondered if he was going to go up the hill too.  I had forgotten about him as I suffered on the steepest part of the climb, until I saw him barely moving on the bike up ahead of me.  Although I never caught up to him, this motivated me to finish the hill strong.  I felt good about my effort, but this was one of the KOM's Mike's time was really strong.  I recovered running to Rte 1 and turning around and then heading back down the hill.  I was trying to keep my overall pace peppy.  After crossing the stream, I had the long 1.2 mile climb up Snuff Mill Road.  I increased my intensity and hoped for the best.  Mike's pace was 6:16, and even though I was happy with my effort, the speed just wasn't there.  It was still my fastest ascent.  I ran down Rte 1A to Cottrell Road and then swung around the roads of Plum Beach to the yacht club.  I turned around and ran the last hill of the day up Plum Beach Road.  I gave it a good effort, but my GPS pace wasn't speedy.  I finished by running up and down 1A until I reached 10 miles for the day.  Total time: 1:07:37 and total elevation gain of 1,015' according to my watch.  I ended up as KOM on Plum Point Rd, Champlin Rd, and Plum Beach Rd climbs.  2nd place on Gilbert Stuart and Snuff Mill.  Oh well.  It felt good to run hard on a cold day. 

Saturday: 16 miles - Westerly/North Stonington/Ashaway run with Jeff, Muddy, Tom, and Mike B. This was plan B to avoid opening day of shotgun season. We met up in the dark and intermittent snow at 6AM. We ran roads north, taking up most of the pavement unless a car came by. I knew I was in for a long day. My legs were toast and Jeff, Tom, and Mike B are notorious for their up tempo long runs. My legs were protesting right away, and I joked (or maybe I wasn't) about trying to stay with the lead pack. I only felt good climbing. We crossed the closed Boom Bridge and then ran by Lewis Farm. We made are way east to Ashaway and then ran south along the river. At Potter Hill we briefly slowed down and ran a couple of loops through the Whitley Preserve. My trail vision was horrendous since I left my glasses in the car (thinking it was going to snow/rain). Back on the road, the group began doing some short 2 telephone pole length sprints. I must have been in rough shape because I made the good decision to not partake. Wouldn't have been smart. I was more or less keeping up by maintaining the normal pace over their sprints then recoveries. Did I mention the normal pace was 6:48? Mike B eventually ran with me as he did intervals the previous day. We sat back and chatted. We then had the long climb up to the Westerly town Forest. Again I resisted my competitive urge, and ascended at a controlled pace. We then ran trails for the next few miles, and luckily at an easy pace. Basically the trails are either up or down. I was falling behind on the downs, mostly because of my vision. I would catch back up on the climbs ( is it easier to see going uphill?). We realized that the run was running longer than anticipated so we high tailed it back to our cars. I was able to move pretty well, but that may be attributed to my fear of arriving home late. To quote Muddy quoting Ferenc, we were rollin'. Total time: 1:57ish (I need to upload my GPS data). Good workout. My legs are dead, but not injured. 

1 mile - 3xhome trail loops with my son when I got home. We talked about working his way up to a 3K distance. This will be a gradual long term project. He steadily ran these tricky trails without stopping. Total time: 12:49. I'm proud he stuck with it for 3 laps and he seemed pleased with himself. It even worked as a nice cool down for me.

Sunday: 0 - plans for short easy AM run fell through before the day got busy.

Overall: Another high quality week with two rest days mixed in. One week to the Christmas 10K.

Weekly Total: 62 miles
Last Week: 65 miles
Year to Date: 2773 miles

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Weekly Log 11-19-12 to 11-25-12

Monday:  7 miles - Ryan Park trails alone.  Immediately following the race on Sunday, my body felt terrible, and I thought that it would need extra time to recuperate.  Wrong.  I felt fine today, so I headed out for an easy run on the classic 7 mile Ryan course.  The run was good, but  I definitely didn't need too many miles.  Total time: 52:04. 

Tuesday: 10 miles - Wickford Harbor roads alone.  I was without a car during the day at work, so I needed to run from the office.  Usually I would run the roads to Ryan Park, but I just ran there yesterday.  So instead, I wandered around side roads of Wickford, some I had run in the past, and others were new.  The flat terrain felt good on my still recovering legs.  I again didn't look at my watch while I ran for fear of pushing myself too hard.  The weather was really nice, but I can't help but notice how weak the November afternoon sun is.  I did get to mix in a short trail section in Wilson Park which led to a slower mile.  My legs felt tired at the end.  Total time: 1:11:59.  A pretty good pace for running easy. 

Wednesday: 6:30AM - 6+ miles - CCMS track workout with Mike and Ben.  I knew Mike's plan going in to the workout and it sounded really fun - 3 or 4 sets of 400,300,200,100 with 100 rest, 600 between sets run at fast 800 pace.  I wasn't sure what my target pace would be, so I checked online.  I decided to target 5:00/mile pace, but I would mostly just see how I felt on the track.  The weather wasn't nearly as cold as I thought, and the 38 degrees with no wind seemed almost perfect.  I felt a little tight on the first 400, but then was fine for the rest of the intervals.  It became apparent the 300's were the hardest, as I felt rested for the 400's and the 200's and 100's are so short it doesn't matter.  I was super pleased that my sets got faster.  Mike ran the last set with me which definitely helped.  My pace was way lower than my target.  Here are the results: (73.0/56.9/36.1/17.3) (71.8/54.3/34.7/16.6) (71.0/51.7/33.0/14.9).  Planning on a PM trail run. 

1:30PM - 8 miles - Carter Preserve trails alone. I was thinking of running in Perryville, but since I'll be running there on Friday, I drove past and parked at Carter off of Rte 112. I ran red to blue to yellow to the field loop, back via the power line to yellow to blue to split rock. Total time: 1:03:xx. I felt terrible the first three miles. My legs were sore and stiff, and I lacked energy thanks to the morning workout. The weather was so awesome I pressed on, and I finally perked up on the field loop.

Thursday: 0 - nice long hike with the family in Arcadia. We did the boardwalk around the roaring brook ponds and then hiked a section of the Arcadia Trail that is very scenic. I had to carry my daughter for a mile plus that was quite the workout.

Friday: 16 miles - Perryville trails with two miles of connecting roads mixed in with Muddy, Mike G, and Jeff. We met up late (7AM) at the Quaker Burial Ground. We ran the trails on the western side of DuVal before crossing Gravelly Hill Rd and running the eastern side. Love these trails - so hilly and twisty, but good footing. Our pace was on the easy side, but not slow. We ran a loop of dirt roads before heading back. We jumped onto Gravelly Hill Rd and ran north to the Browning Trail. Mike began pushing the pace halfway through, and we were really moving by the end. Fun stuff. I had to slow it down on the road and trails back. My legs were toast! Total time: 2:00:00. At the trailhead we noticed a new bulletin board. There was a new handwritten note about a mountain lion sighting. It seemed legit, especially with the two other notices about a missing dog (pug) and cat. I'll upload the photo later.

Saturday: 8 miles - Burlingame trails alone. I parked on Buckeye Brook Rd and ran south to the campground, and then continued on the North South Trail until I had been running for 31 minutes. 30:30 on the way back. Chillier than I expected. Glad I overdressed! Spent some time in the afternoon splitting wood. Fun but exhausting cross training.

Sunday: 10 miles - CHS track workout with Muddy. After Friday's run we talked about a possible longer interval workout today since none of us had weekend races. I spent some time researching 10K workouts and found a few fun options. They all seemed challenging. We decided on the one with the most variety and not as daunting: 3x1 mile at 10K goal pace/3x800 at 5K pace/3x300 at 1 mile pace. 400 rest except full rest for 300's. It was chilly with a frustrating wind at times. My legs were carrying some miles in them and I hoped to complete the workout on target. Results: 5:48/5:41/5:36 2:47/2:44/2:43 54/54/54. I was happy to beat the targets and to have negative splits. The miles were harder than I thought. I feared the 800's, but they went well. 300's were hard, but short. Pumped for the Christmas 10K in two weeks! Total time: 1:08.

Weekly Total: 65 miles
Last Week: 59 miles
Year to Date: 2711 miles

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Li'l Rhody Runaround 2012

Yesterday was the latest installment of my favorite race of the year.  As usual, the Li'l Rhody Runaround served as my family's Thanksgiving get together.   I awoke the day of the race feeling nervous and a little foggy from the previous night's dinner.  My goal for this race was to attempt to break 50 minutes.  I wasn't really sure if this was possible as my PR (from last year) was 52:38.  I knew I would be faster than that, but how much faster could I reasonably expect?  I ran the course as a tempo run a few weeks ago in 51:40.  I ran that very hard and hoped that the excitement of the race would make me even faster. 

I arrived at the race with Greg and Jen about an hour early.  I chatted with fellow WTAC members and other familiar runners.  Greg, Muddy, and I eventually headed out for the standard Li'l Rhody warm up down Sanctuary Rd to the campground and back.  The weather was spectacular - sunny, not much wind, and the temperature pushing 50 degrees.  The trail was leaf covered but dry.  Upon returning to the parking area, I found my wife (running her 3rd Runaround) and before we knew it, we had to line up at the starting line. I tucked into the front and waited for the gun. 

I attempted to not go out too fast at the start.   I was still running closer to the front than ever before, but the pace seemed controlled, and I was surrounded by the people I expected to be near.  I could see Greg side by side an unknown runner up front and there were just a few runners behind them and ahead of me.  As we moved along Sanctuary Road, Tom Gruczka passed me (last year's #3 but he said he wasn't in great running shape this year) and I believe Jeff came up along side of me.  Just as we were about to hit the Kimball single track I surged ahead of them to see how everyone was feeling on the trails.  Apparently everyone was doing just fine as they stuck right to me.  As we emerged from the woods and entered the campground, Tom went ahead of me again, but I kept him close.  I knew Jeff was on my heels and Muddy was lurking as well.  I was already questioning my speed at this point - I didn't feel fast and I had a lot more to go.  We entered the woods again and I maintained my position a second behind Tom, but now I had someone itching to pass behind me.  I kept waiting for a pass and I even thought about moving to the side, but decided to stay on my line and let nature run its course.  Just after the GPS 2 mile mark I was passed by Muddy (I thought I recognized his breathing).  Just like in years past, I initially wanted to stick with him, but I would have to work too hard, and he looked really smooth.  He made another move around Tom before the technical rock gardens and bridges.  I didn't mind being behind Tom watching his crazy jumps and maneuvers through these sections.  Impressive stuff, but this was a race, and when he slowed just a bit on the first little climb after Klondike, I decided to surge up the hill and go for the pass.  My move worked well and I surged again on the next climb and really put some distance between us.  I could see Muddy up ahead and a couple of other guys.  I had a few daring jumps and one pommel horse move of my own through this stretch of trail leading to Buckeye Brook Road.  These diversions kept me smiling and on my toes rather than focusing on how much I was hurting.  At the road, I could see Muddy and the others again, and I was happy that Tom and Jeff weren't that close behind me.  As I re-entered the woods, I listened for cheering behind me to see how far back they might be.  Soon I was passing Glenn and Gina watching from the ledges above the trail.  I tried to work harder as they encouraged me on.  I felt a little sloppy through this technical section, and my feet were slipping on the leaves.  I ran up the rocks and then noticed someone was gaining on me.  It was Jeff!  This is the area of trails that he typically slows down on, so I was panicked he was either feeling much better than me or I was really slowing down.  I didn't like the feeling of being chased.  I motored up the long hill.  I temporarily forgot about Jeff when I got a glimpse of someone new ahead of me.  I was bummed when I saw this person open it back up once on the other side, and my fear of Jeff again was my main focus.  I pushed on through the technical single track.  I felt like I made good work of the rock gardens, but was slipping a lot on leaves.  My steps felt inefficient.  I tried to run the uphill section to the road hard, hoping to separate from Jeff.  I hit the road and just let my body go as fast as it liked.  I didn't push it at first.  This is where track workouts make a difference.  My pace was good and controlled.  As I pushed the uphill section I could see that I had a comfortable lead on Jeff now.  I was actually gaining on the group ahead of me, but there wasn't enough race left to catch them.  I began sprinting the downhill and as I entered the picnic area, Greg and Glenn were screaming at me to run harder.  I knew this was a sign that I was very close to my goal time (I never looked at my watch the entire race) so I dug down and sprinted faster than anytime in recent memory.  I could hear my mom and kids cheer for me as I rounded the last curve and saw the clock turn to 50:00.  I crossed the line in 50:04, feeling great about my run.  Two and a half minutes faster than last year! 

I watched and chatted with everyone as they finished their races.  My wife looked good finishing 5 minutes faster than last year.  We walked down to registration to get some refreshments/warm up near the fire.  What a great event.  Thanks WTAC!! 


Below was the data from my GPS watch.  The splits in the woods are off (high), but I was happy to see my first mile (on gravel road) was not too fast and that the last section of road I ran at 5:20 pace. 

Mile 1 -29ft  
Mile 2 -22ft  
Mile 3 29ft  
Mile 4 -10ft  
Mile 5 -1ft  
Mile 6 33ft  
Mile 7 30ft  
0.71 mi -47ft  

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Weekly Log 11-12-12 to 11-18-12

Monday: 6 miles - hilly road tempo run from my house alone.  I wasn't sure if I would be able to run today as my family was heading up to Boston for the day.  Somehow a short window opened up after breakfast/before getting ready to go.  I've had a feeling of missing hill work in my routine, so I opted for the rollercoaster 3 mile out-and-back from my house I've done many times, but not recently.  A day after a 5K, I wasn't planning to run so hard, but run hard is what I did, and it felt good (in a bad way).  After a first mile of 6:52 (up and down), I then coasted down Buckeye Brook Rd in 6:10.  The third mile is all up hill and was a challenge, so I was thrilled with the 6:29 split (faster than I thought).  Mile 4 is all down hill (6:11), before I begin the long climb up Buckeye Brook Rd.  I was again surprised to see a 6:26 (definitely my fastest ascent ever).  Mile 6 is up and down back to my house (6:04).  Total time: 38:16.  Feeling good! 

We spent the rest of the day up in Boston/Cambridge.  This was a good chance for the kids to hang out with their first first cousin and for us to walk some of the Freedom Trail. 

Tuesday: AM 3 miles - 9 loops of home trails before work.  I had a poor night sleep and was feeling rather anxious when I awoke, so I did this impromptu trail workout to help relax my mind.  Works like a charm.  The trails are relentlessly twisty and not flat, requiring a lot of concentration.  The last loop I climbed the infamous Shumankawall.  My legs were toast, but I managed to fake run up it.  Total time: 23:40. 
               PM 10 miles - Ryan Park trails alone.  I ran later in the afternoon doing the usual 10 miles.  At first I was only going to do 7, but my body was feeling fine and the pace was easy, so I kept going.  I avoided the rain for the most part, but the temperature was 20 degrees cooler than in the morning.  Total time: 1:13:46. 
Wednesday: 10 miles - Quonset speedwork: 8x400.  I should probably call this 2x(4x400) since I backtracked 1.5 miles after 4 intervals to avoid running into the cold NE wind.  I stole my workout this week from Galoob's blog.  Again, with my GPS watch I'm able to program in the workout, but I don't know the results until I upload the data.  This usually leads to a tad more inconsistency than I'd like.  Results:  71/76/76/76 74/77/76/75.  Pleased with the times.  I was running comfortably hard and they match my VDOT.   The cooldown into the wind (and 46 degrees) was annoying.  Total time: 1:08:21.  The plan for the rest of the week is to run long and slow in Burlingame tomorrow (day off from work) and then maybe 2 days off before Li'l Rhody Runaround on Sunday.  Does that make sense? 
Thursday: 15 miles - Burlingame trails alone.  What better use of a day off from work than a long run in the woods?  After everyone left the house I grabbed my running gear and headed out the door.  I ran the 1.5 miles of road and trail to the Vin Gormley Trail.  I was trying to keep the pace conservative, and I wanted to check out the condition of the Li'l Rhody Runaround race course.  The trail was in great shape out to Kings Factory Road.  There was a double-trunked tree that you need to sneak through (easy enough for a someone short like me) right after the intersection with Schoolhouse Pond Trail and then a reroute to the right around a big fallen oak about a mile further down.  The mass destruction near the road has been completely cleared.  I ran the roads to the campground and then detoured to the single track of the Brrr-lingame 15K course.  I was amazed at first by how there were no fallen trees anywhere, but near the camp road crossing there was a lot of scrambling to do.  I really enjoyed being out in the woods with no humans around and the nice crisp (mid 30's) air.  My legs were definitely tired from all the recent speedwork.  I weaved my way back to the VG trail and continued my course recon.  The trail was in great shape to Klondike Road and I could see all the work the guys did along this stretch - thanks!!  With the new bridges, this section should actually be faster than in past years.  That will be helpfull considering the next stretch of trail between Klondike and Buckeye Brook Rd.  My dad told me that there were 27 trees that fell across the trail here, including a 90' pitch pine (yes, he measured it).  There were other giant oaks that fell on the trail as well.  In total there are 4 (I think) reroutes to the right around some of the behemoths.  This will add a bit of distance to the course, but there is a nice flow on the reroutes that should allow you to maintain your speed for the most part.  The last section to check out was the mile or so from Buckeye Brook Rd to my side trail after the old camp road.  I don't remember anything out of the ordinary here, but I was also tired and losing focus.  I then had to run mostly uphill back to my house.  Total time: 1:56:31.  See everyone on Sunday! 

 Friday: 5 miles - Rome Point trails with Tom.  A nice late fall run.  Despite his concern about me going too fast (I said I wanted to go very easy), Tom kept the pace brisk out there.  My legs feel good.  Total time: 35:05. 
Saturday: 0 - Hammett Thanksgiving at night. 
Sunday: 10 miles - Li'l Rhody Runaround 50:04, 7th overall.  See separate write up. 
Weekly Total: 59 miles
Last Week: 59 miles
Year to Date: 2646 miles

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Setting the Pace for Conservation 5K

Well I made it onto the front page of the local newspaper.  The caption sums up the race nicely.  I led the first half mile (maybe less) and then Tommy 5K took over and did what he does best.  Congrats to him.  It seems that he is now fully recovered from his injury this summer.  There was a big WTAC presence at the race, and it was a really fun event for a good cause - conservation of local land.  I missed a PR by 2 seconds.  I did not run a smart race, and the data backs it up as I set time PR's at different distances  (see chart below) for all my GPS recorded runs: 

400m2ft04:45/mi-00:01:10 PR

1/2 mile-0ft04:58/mi-00:02:29 PR

1k-1ft05:02/mi-00:03:07 PR

1 mile5ft05:18/mi-00:05:18 2nd Fastest

2 miles3ft05:29/mi-00:10:59 2nd Fastest

5k1ft05:34/mi-00:17:17 2nd Fastest

No wonder I felt tired by 1 mile.  I then was in survival/suffer mode the rest of the race.  I couldn't get my pace below the 5:40's the rest of the way.  I had a big cheering section at the half point which helped.  My mother-in-law was there with her camera: 

The turnaround on Champlin Rd was kind of fun.  Mike B slapped me 5, and Mike C cheered me on.  Those guys are full of positive vibes.  I ran alone for the rest of the race.  The start/finish area was in the Avondale Preserve which is a coastal grassland.  There was a section at the start that was into a strong headwind, and I knew I had to finish into it as well.  It was really hard to get any sort of final push.  I looked back to see if Jeff was within striking distance, but it looked like my position was settled.  When the clock came into view, I realized I was close to my PR, so I did pick up my pace the last few strides through the chute, but my final time of 17:22 was 1 second off my PR.  No problem.  I didn't run smart in the beginning.  Lesson learned (maybe!).  Results here
 After I finished I caught up with teammates and then ran a cool down with Jeff and the Mikes.  Tom and Kelsey won awesome gift baskets and I was happy to bring home a tree. 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Weekly Log 11-5-12 to 11-11-12

Quick note:  I am hopelessly obsessed with running right now.  Can't get it out of my head.  Please help! 

Monday: 10 miles - NK roads with Calf Pasture Point beach and trails mixed in alone.  Tis the season to run on the beach, so I headed out to the bike path today.  I made it a point to ignore my watch and just enjoy the run, which I did, except when I was running into the cold wind (low 40's), and when a collie ran after me (I had to go into loud deep voice mode and repeatedly tell it to go back to it's home).  Low 7's for the roads and a little slower on the beach.  Total time: 1:13:12. 

Tuesday: AM 8 miles - Election Day workout with the original track crew: Galoob, Muddy, Jeff, and Ben.  We got the band back together for this chilly 6:30AM workout - 24 degrees.  We met at CCMS, and caught up on a slow warm up.  We didn't communicate our intentions, but I knew we were all there to get some serious speedwork in.  Mike talked us into 4x200 followed by 3x300 and then some more 200's.  The plan was to run all at "speed glide" pace, except for the last 200 (1st set) and 300.  These were to be all out as a baseline for our current fitness.  I was a little nervous going in as my lungs felt taxed in the cold air (clearly not acclimated yet) and I had the least fresh legs of the bunch.  I didn't need to worry, and running as a group really helped.  Mike would be ahead, but the rest of us all stuck together for the most part.  The all out 200 and 300 had a bit of a race feel to them.  Mike tricked us into running a 4th 300 which really hurt.  We finished with two smooth 200's.  Results:  4x200: 37/36/36/31 4x300: 52/52/50/52 4x200: 36/33.  Jeff then talked us into running a cool down through the nearby trails which was fun.  Total time: 70 minutes. 

              PM 9 miles - Rome Point trails and beach recovery run.  I slipped out in the afternoon for a nice run in the chilly, but sunny weather (42 degrees).  I zigzagged to the point (about 2.5 miles) and then ran the shoreline south for 2 miles to Plum Beach.  It was a little colder with the wind on the way back, but a nice run.  I finished the way I started.  Total time: 1:12:41.  It was good to double today since the weather looks iffy the next two days. 

Wednesday:  0

Thursday: 12 miles - SK trails and bike path at night with Aaron, Mike G, and Brian M.  The weather during the day was terrible again with the nor'easter, and I wasn't feeling a daytime run.  I was hoping to meet up for the 5:30PM Big River run, but I needed to go right home after work.  Strike 2.  Then I received an email from Aaron regarding one of his famous Squatch Runs beginning at 8PM.  Perfect!  By the time we started the wind had really died down and the temperature had actually climbed up to 40.  We met at Old Mtn Field, and began running the new trails there.  It became apparent that Brian and I had crappy headlamps, Mike's was good, and Aaron's was obnoxiously strong.  I had a different one in my car, so I swapped it out after a loop, but although a little brighter, the strap broke, so I had to hold it in my hand the rest of the night.  Rookie mistake.  I need a good headlamp!  After a mile or two Brian fell pretty badly and decided to head back.  The three of us continued on through the twisty trails until we had to run roads to the bike path.  I could relax on the pavement as I didn't have to watch out for obstacles.  We then did the trails on the south side of Tri-Pond Park.  This took a ton of concentration, but was really fun.  We returned to the bike path and then cut through some of the Spring Forward trails to more roads that led to Potter Woods.  We looped around the trails in the park and then ran mostly bike path back to Old Mtn Field.  My legs were defintely tiring the last couple of miles, but that's probably normal since I ran for an hour and 45 minutes two days after a hard workout.  Bring on more night runs! 

Friday: 10 miles - Ryan Park trails alone.  The plan today was to run easy most of the time, but then push a couple of new Strava segments that popped up recently.  I figured this would fit in with my running schedule (probably running a 5K on Sunday).  I parked at the athletic fields and felt slow for the first few miles.  It was nice to be out in the sun and decent temperature.  I spooked a great blue heron in an overgrown creek which was strange.  The trails have held up well here after the two big storms, but there is a lot of hurdling to do.  One exception is a short trail section near the powerline that I don't run very often.  I tried it out today and it was littered with snapped oaks.  Just a mess.  This trail will probably never be used by humans again.  Anyway, I could tell that my pace was picking up and soon it was time for the first interval - .9 miles on the old railbed.  I felt like I was running at 5K or faster effort, but my watch was showing 7:40 then 7:12 pace.  About 3/4 of the way through, my watch suddenly showed 5:50's pace.  That seemed better.  I took it slow and recovered before embarking on the second interval - .3 miles on a rooty single track.  I pushed the pace, but the technicality was keeping it slower.  I completed the segment and jogged it back to my car.  Total time: 1:11:44.  After uploading the data, my railbed pace was 5:51 and the roots pace was 6:41. 

Saturday: 0

Sunday: 10 miles - Setting the Pace for Conservation 5K - 17:22, 2nd overall.  See separate write up. 

Overall:  Two days off, but still almost got 60 miles in.  Great variety.  Highlights were the track workout, night run, and 5K. 

Weekly Total: 59 miles
Last Week: 66 miles
Year to Date: 2,587 miles

Friday, November 2, 2012

Weekly Log 10-29-12 to 11-4-12

Monday: 0 - home with the family watching the storm.  Incredible gusts of wind between 3PM and 4PM.  Many trees (mostly oaks) fell on/near the roads around our house.  Looks like a war zone.  Power went out before 3PM.  Fun evening in the dark.  Cooked up (gas stove) food we needed to use from our freezer. 

Tuesday: 8 miles - trails/roads around my house in the morning.  I ran from my house south.  Lots of oaks down, but wire were all intact until I reached a road block on Buckeye Brook Road.  I backtracked and entered the woods at the bottom of Shumankanuc Hill Road.  My plan was to run down to the Vin Gormley Trail and then run back up Kings Factory Road.  Numerous large trees blocking the trail, but I guess it could have been worse.  I reached the road and headed north.  I should note how terrible I felt running.  I just didn't have any energy for parts of the run.  Anyway, I reached a point where trees had fallen on wires and blocked the road.  I bushwacked around them and returned to the road.  Immediately there was another tree down with wires across the road.  Okay, time to turn around.  I bushwacked my way through the woods until I found Schoolhouse Pond Trail.  I then ran Sammy C's back to the bottom of my road.  I stopped along the way to chat with my neighbors.  Total time: 1:02:23. 

Wednesday: 9 miles - Quonset roads speedwork alone.  I wasn't feeling any sort of run.  I've been dealing with no power at home, and it's been very busy at work.  Running doesn't feel like a priority.  Anyway, I eventually mustered up enough desire to run intervals.  I then spent too much time trying to get my custom workout on garminconnect to transfer to my watch.  It never worked.  So, instead of 8x200/4x400, I programmed 12x200 into my watch.  I drove out to Quonset, and because of the wind direction, I did my cool down course as my warm up and vice versa.  My warm up was peppy - 3 miles at 7:01 pace.  Good sign.  I then ran 5 200's with the wind, 4 into the wind (hard - thought about cutting the workout short), and 3 with the wind again.  As usual, I have no idea of my splits while I'm working out.  Results: 34/37/35/36/35 34/35/37/37 36/37/35.  Total time: 1:03:26. 

Thursday:  11 miles - Rome Point trails and beach alone.  First day of November, and it felt right to get back to my usual cold weather running spot.  I haven't run my 11 mile course here since last winter or spring.  My legs felt good with only a little soreness from yesterday's speedwork.  My pace felt easy, and my splits were good.  The beach was in decent shape - more rocks/less sand.  I saw the first brant of the year.  There wasn't much tree damage in the woods, but somehow I managed to rip open my leg on briars bushwacking around one fallen tree.  It didn't hurt, but looked disgusting.  Total time: 1:17:17. 

Friday: 15 miles - Ryan Park trails (10M) and Wickford roads to/from alone.  I've been thinking about doing this run for a couple of weeks, and I finally had the opportunity to do it.  My legs were a little tired, but I was able to push them pretty hard for the duration.  I was running in the low 6:50's on the roads to the park and was in the 6:30's on the roads back.  I was just under 70 minutes for the trail portion.  It felt good to run this hard for this long, as I was feeling like I was only running hard on shorter stuff recently.  Total time: 1:42:17. 

Saturday: 7 miles - roads from my house to Carter Preserve trails and back.  I got to spend this entire spectacular autumn day outside starting at 8:30AM.  Lots of yardwork followed by burning brush in the fire pit for the rest of the day.  My wife talked me out of running in Burlingame, as she ran into a ton of hunters out on opening day of deer black powder season.  So, at 2 in the afternoon I ran the roads out to the powerline trail at Carter Preserve.  My pace was in the high 6's, and probably too fast, as my legs were tired.  I powered up the powerline hill.  I then ran down the wide trail to the field.  Something about this place that is so enjoyable, even though I didn't like maintaining my pace on the thick grass.  I came back down the powerline trail and ran up the hill back to my house.  A decent little hill workout.  Total time about 49 minutes flat - having watch issues.  Fun chromium replacing with Muddy's family at night. 

Sunday: 16 miles - Burlingame trails with Muddy, Aaron, Jay S, and John.  I had a rather restless night sleep worrying about the time change since I was "hosting" a trail run beginning at my house at 6AM (yesterday's 7AM).  Everything worked out with the timing and we were off.  We ran to the Burdickville Rd entrance and headed south to the River Trail.  There were minimal down tree obstructions and only a few hunters still at their trucks, not out shooting anything yet.  The pace was easy on this chilly (37 degrees) morning.  We continued on to the Ledge Trail and then worked our way up to the top of Buckeye Brook Road, where John headed back to his car.  The four of us then followed Sammy C's the full length down to Vin Gormley.  We ran up VG to Schoolhouse Pond to Secret.  The trails were in decent shape for the most part.  A couple of trees to bushwhack around, but nothing major (except for the pines right off of Buckeye Brook Rd).  We prolonged the run by continuing on VG and then running up the hill on the road back to the red gate.  Then it was just a couple of nice hills on the trails back to my house.  Total time: 2:04.  I miss my space watch.  Really fun family outing later in the day - hiked the Green Fall Pond loop and then went to Clyde's for hot cider and donuts. 

Overall:  A great week after some Sandy uncertainty in the beginning.  I hope to get an Election Day track workout in and maybe a race on Sunday if things pan out.  I'm doing a software update for the watch, so I'm thinking that'll do the trick. 

Weekly Total: 66 miles
Last Week: 60 miles
Year to Date: 2528 miles